Your article ‘Britain needs more trees to fight the climate crisis, could sheep farms be the answer?’ claims that there’s a solid economic case for sheep farmers to instead grow forests and become carbon off setters.
The proposal assumes producing food for the nation and offsetting our carbon footprint are binary choices when the reality is that British farmers are already putting measures in place to achieve net zero emissions by 2040 through carbon storage, productivity improvement and investment in renewable energy, all without sacrificing our ability to produce our own food.
Grazing sheep help shape our iconic landscapes, protect carbon stored in the land and turn inedible grass into a highly nutritious and sustainable product while providing habitats that help improve our biodiversity. Farmers can help to establish planting the right trees in the right places through an understanding of how tree-planting fits alongside farming activities. Rewarding farmers for the work they do for the environment and climate needs to be a central part of our domestic agricultural policy so that the industry can meet its goal of achieving net zero emissions by 2040 while continuing to provide safe, affordable, and nutritious food produced to some of the highest standards in the world.
Thomas Binns, NFU uplands forum chairman